Rising Directors Scheme concluded with showcase

Seven emerging directors have concluded the ScreenSkills ITF Rising Directors Scheme with a screening at the Sheffield Doc/Fest of the three-minute films they produced.

The programme was supported by the ScreenSkills TV Skills Fund with contributions from BBC, Channel 4 and Channel 5 and delivered by ScreenSkills ITF. Each director received £5,000 to make a short and was paired with a renowned documentary executive producer for mentoring. They also participated in an intensive directors’ training programme and bespoke masterclasses.

The rising directors each introduced their film at the showcase and answered audience questions afterwards. Participant Kay Headley (A Boxer’s Mind) was very grateful to be selected for the scheme. “The training plan, mentoring and support has been second to none. I can’t thank ScreenSkills ITF enough for the wonderful experience, which I believe was instrumental in me being able to direct and produce a film that was received so well and given so much praise,” he said.

Fellow participant Lizzie MacKenzie (Home To The Woods) said the scheme “propelled me so much further on in the industry than I imagined possible in such a short space of time” as she been offered a job as shooting AP. “Within days of the showcase I’ve been approached by numerous talent hunters and commissioners. This makes me feel that I can take on the next stage of my documentary directing career with confidence.”

Lizzie MacKenzie is not the only one who made great strides in her career following participation in the scheme. Ben Ibbott (Hanabi) could not attend the showcase because he had started working as a shooting AP on the second series of The Heist for Shine and last years’ participant Ashley Francis-Roy won the 2019 First Cut Pitch. Supported by Channel 4, five new directors were offered a chance to pitch their ideas to a jury, following which the broadcaster commissioned a 60-minute film from the winner, as well as £5,000 of development budget and further training opportunities.

Watch the seven films of this year’s Rising Directors Scheme cohort:

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